Gaining confidence

Here is a graph I created for a recent work project.

Three weeks into my internship and I feel like I have learned more than one term in college could ever teach me. I am involved in public affairs. This means I must be up to date on political and social affairs, mostly on the city and county level.

I work for a city government, or municipal government. In three short weeks I have honed my skills in writing news releases, media hotsheets, speeches and using Excel.

Believe it or not, you do need math skills. I know many of us have chosen a career where we believe math isn’t mentioned. However, I just completed a project with my fellow intern where I used Excel. We were asked to create a formula for the Excel sheet and create two graphs. I’m no fan of numbers myself. By forcing myself to confront my worst enemy—math—I found my confidence.

At my internship, I have also been writing down tips or things I think are important. These tips include lessons learned on the job or important tips my mentor has given me. For example, my mentor has explained how to handle certain media, why public relations is key to a successful and transparent government, and life lessons in general. I have been writing these tips and lessons down in the spiral notebook I was given on my first day.

The most valuable tool I have come away with from my internship so far is confidence. Even when I might not be thrilled to be working on math, I gained confidence after how impressed my boss and colleagues were with my work.

Never doubt your abilities and don’t deny yourself the chance to grow in an area you may not be the best in.

Michelle Tagmyer

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10 Responses to Gaining confidence

  1. jamesynwa says:

    It’s great that you’re exposed to such a diverse workload at your internship, Michelle. I think most people discount local government by focusing too much attention on presidential elections or federal legislation. At the end of the day, it’s the locally elected leaders making the decisions that affect day-to-day life in your community. They don’t get the credit they deserve! And I can totally relate to your struggles with excel – it’s an important tool in our office as well. Too bad it was never a large part of our PR curriculum until now. But hey, better late than never!

  2. Alysha Beck says:

    I really like your idea about writing down tips from work in a notebook. I might try doing that too because I feel like I’m taking in so much information and advice that I could forget a lot of useful tips. And it sounds like you’re doing a great job taking on tasks you might not normally want to such as working with numbers and creating graphs. Great job diving in and gaining confidence in the process!

  3. That’s pretty awesome, Michelle. I remember discussing the process of choosing a Bachelor of Arts rather than a Bachelor of Science because of the math component within the degree, and how we both admired C for choosing the math route instead. Thankfully, formulas in Excel aren’t too too bad- but where actual math is involved, it can be pretty daunting. I’m so happy for you that your internship made you grow and you’ve gained confidence because of it. Growth does not come from being comfortable- it comes from the moments of discomfort that you powered through. Keep up the good work, sounds like you’re kicking butt at your internship!

  4. asharonson says:


    Your internship sounds fun! You’re right, you do learn so much more in the real world than you ever will in college. You never know when useless skills– like math ;)– will ever be beneficial. Part of what makes us excellent interns is our ability to adapt to what is thrown at us, even if that is not what we are used too. It sounds like you are doing that perfectly! Keep up the good work!

  5. shannonkluss says:

    I think its a great idea that you have been writing down tips that you think will be important for the future. It sounds so silly, but it really helps to write them down somewhere, either in a calender or notebook or even just in your phone. You’ll come across them sooner than later and you’ll be thanking yourself! I also think its awesome that you sat down, faced your fears, and tackled Excel! Sometimes going head-in to something that seems overwhelming is the best way to learn a skill and become confident in it!

  6. pdxsx says:

    Nice job, Michelle! Sounds like you are really getting some kick-ass experience at your internship. Excellent chart, BTW – definitely seeing a correlation there!

  7. Allyson Will says:

    Great post! I think keeping a notebook is a great way to remember your thoughts. The worst feeling is later in the day knowing that you had a great idea earlier and not being able to remember it. I also keep a notepad next to my bed at night. I always seem to think of the greatest ideas in the middle of the night and if I don’t write them down immediately I will forget them. I also like writing down things that stress me out. A few months later after I have solved my problem I love looking at what I have accomplished, regardless of how trivial the problem may have been. Congrats on your internship!

  8. agavette says:

    I’m totally with you. I feel like I’ve learned so much in the past three (almost four!?) weeks–way more than I would have learned taking a class at school. On one hand, it’s great that we can put our school-learned skills into practice (math included), but also great to learn things that we might not have learned in a class. I feel like the most valuable skills or lessons learned happen in the field. You can learn from mistakes or through observation of professional colleagues, or even through excelling at an excell spreadsheet! 😉

  9. codynewton says:

    I really like reading people’s posts that talk about how involved they are. I was worried, coming in to this, that some of us might get left out of the important stuff at our internships. It sounds like you don’t have that problem at all.

    I also hate math, so it’s encouraging that another math hater was able to use it effectively. I also like the tip notebook idea. That’s a darn good idea, and it’ll probably help you out a lot down the road. I feel like you should share some of those tips!

    Good luck

  10. rkaapu says:

    Michelle, I really enjoyed reading this post. It sounds like you are really enjoying your internship and that you are having an amazing experience. I am glad you have built confidence in your math skills, I know I always have to check my work because I lack confidence. While you discussed things that may seem difficult or tedious you showed how you tackled them and felt great about it and I really enjoyed your enthusiasm. Keep up the good work and good luck!

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